Flughafen Fraport, EDDF, FRA, Frankfurt Airport, Rhein-Main-Flughafen. Flugzeug beim Start, Steigflug. // Registrierung: D-ABYG, LUFTHANSA, Jumbo, Jumbo-Jet, BOEING 747-830, Aircraft Name Baden-Württemberg. // DEU, Deutschland, Hessen, Frankfurt am Main.

In order to get the flight chaos at many German airports under control, Lufthansa is increasing the number of so-called ghost flights. This is reported by the magazine “Spiegel”. These are empty machines that do not transport passengers, only luggage or crew members.

According to an internal paper, 105 more flights are to be canceled from the Frankfurt am Main hub and 364 ghost flights are to be carried out from this Friday until at least next Thursday. This serves to “stabilize the crews and improve the luggage situation,” quotes the “Spiegel” from the letter.

This would affect between 57 and 76 outgoing connections every day, depending on the day of the week and the traffic situation. Germany’s largest airline wants to decide on a possible extension of the measure in the coming week.

But how exactly are the announced measures supposed to defuse the chaos at the airports?

The current high demand coupled with the tense personnel situation means that many airlines are able to handle significantly fewer passengers and their luggage than usual, especially at the large hubs such as Frankfurt Airport. Additional cuts in the flight plan should provide relief and reduce the enormous delays. However, most of the affected machines do not remain on the ground because of this, as they usually have to pick up new passengers at their destination and transport them onwards in the tightly timed flight schedules of the providers.

According to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the many delays currently ensure that many machines – including crew members – do not arrive at their planned night locations by the evening. For this reason, there are currently a particularly large number of so-called “position flights” to the airports from which the machines are supposed to pick up new passengers the next morning. According to the SZ, empty planes are currently just flying behind customers with their leftover luggage. “We experience the craziest things here,” a long-time pilot is quoted as saying.

In the short term, however, the situation at European airports is unlikely to improve – empty flights or not. In many federal states, the start of the summer holidays is the peak travel season.

At the same time, the airlines will find it difficult to replenish the workforce that has been cut due to the corona pandemic within a short period of time. So there is a risk of a turbulent travel summer. At least for all those who want to go on vacation by plane. (bhi)